ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s exports to five central Asian countries (CACs) witnessed a growth of 21.17 per cent during the first eight months of the current fiscal year over the corresponding period last year.

Despite the existing prospects, the country’s exports to the region have yet to attain their full potential. Similarly, imports from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and other countries to Pakistan have not increased significantly, despite regular high-profile visits.

In absolute terms, the value of Pakistan’s exports to the five central Asian countries — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — rose by 21.17pc to $158.07 million in July-February 2024 from $130.45m during the same period last year.

Imports from the region fell by 18.56pc to $17.46m in 8MFY24 from $21.44m during the same period last year. The majority of these imports came from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Despite existing prospects, bilateral trade volume yet to attain full potential

Pakistan’s trade with CACs is between $400 and $500m annually via transit of Afghanistan. Uzbekistan has already implemented its transit trade agreement with Pakistan, under which 1,200 containers were imported in February.

Tajikistan imported three trucks loaded with potatoes from Pakistan under the transit agreement.

Pakistan’s exports to Turkmenistan stood at $0.735m in 8MFY24 from $0.79m over the corresponding months last year, showing a decline of 6.33pc. Imports from Turkmenistan recorded a growth of 113pc to $4.96m during the period under review against $2.32m over the corresponding months last year.

The export proceeds to Uzbekistan reached $47.07m in 8MFY24 against $53.22m over the corresponding months last year, showing a decline of 11.55pc. Imports from Uzbekistan also declined by 19.87pc to $9.11m from $11.37m over the corresponding months last year.

In terms of value, Kazakhstan has the highest export value, with $90.76m in 8MFY24 compared to $59.55m during the same period last year, representing a 52.40pc rise. The value of imports from Kazakhstan fell 85.74pc to $0.62m this year against $4.35m over the corresponding months of last year.

Pakistan’s exports to Kyrgyzstan stood at $6.37m in 8MFY24 against $2.78m over the corresponding months last year, indicating an increase of 129pc. Imports from Kyrgyzstan stood at $0.27m this year as against $0.14m over the last year, a decline of over 92pc.

Exports to Tajikistan stood at $13.14m in 8MFY24 against $14.11m over corresponding months last year, showing a decline of 6.87pc. Similarly, imports from Tajikistan also dropped 23.3pc to $2.50 against $3.26m over the corresponding months last year.

Pakistan and Tajikistan have already signed and implemented a transit trade agreement. Under the agreement, Tajikistan will import goods via Pakistani seaports.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2024

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